Archive for the ‘Other Authors’ Category

Plagiarism

I don’t and won’t often do this, but I’m going to call out an author.

E.F. Turner has stolen from authors. I know of many, including myself, who post at Literotica. For an example, in her “Erotica Collection #9,” she has plagiarized my entire story, Island Encounter, only changing the name of the lead character from John to Justin.

My story, Island Encounter, was posted on Literotica and StoriesOnline.net in November 2010, as you can see on my submissions page. Her book was published in May of 2014, and it was hardly the only one stolen from authors. Please spread the word; if you recognize a story, please leave me a comment or if you can contact the author, do so. Most stories seem to be in the BDSM and Incest and Non-Consent categories.

I realize it’s a risk you take on the internet, posting things for free, but I’m not going to let someone take advantage of me if I can help it.

This is her Facebook page; if you can post proof of stolen stories, please do. She’s also on Goodreads. I’m not asking anyone — in fact, I explicitly ask that you don’t — to bully or otherwise harass her. Pointing out the stolen stories is enough.

Guess that story again

Over at Literotica, we’ve done another FAWC, a Friendly Anonymous Writing Competition. This time, we all had to begin with the same sentence:

Upon the table lay three times: a handkerchief, a book and a knife.

From there, we could go anywhere, and judging by the entries, that’s a good description. If you get a chance, stop by the submissions page, read some stories, and leave some comments.

And try to guess which one is mine. 🙂

Guess the story

Over at Literotica, some of us have embarked on another FAWC — a Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge. This time we had a choice of songs to inspire our stories.

The trick is, you’ll have to guess which one is mine. 🙂

Here’s the link: http://www.literotica.com/stories/memberpage.php?uid=1521977&page=submissions

I’ve been reading — I know who the participants are but not what they wrote — and there are some excellent stories, so I hope you get the chance to read at least a few (many are two screen pages or less) and leave some feedback. Enjoy!

Challenge stories posted

As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a “Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge” going on over on Literotica. The stories have just posted.

I urge you to check it out; all the participants (including me) were given four “ingredients” to include in our story.  This pushed us all to think a little harder and try to be more creative, and I’m looking forward, myself, to reading the stories. Currently the stories are all in the “Chain Stories” category — an effort to keep things even, since some categories are more heavily-read than others — but they will be moved to the proper author’s pages when the contest is done.

Tell you what, if you can guess mine, I’ll send you a free PDF of one of my currently-unavailable stories  when the contest is over. You can guess over on Lit, or here on the blog.

When this is over, I will submit the story to the other sites I usually post on.

Coming soon

Over on Literotica, a user by the name of slyc_willy has put together an unofficial fun little competition. It’s a friendly anonymous writing challenge, or FAWC. How well do you know an author’s style? How open-minded are you when reading? You can find out by checking the stories. When they’re ready, I’ll post a link.

The competition works this way: each participant was given a random group of “ingredients” that have to be included in the story. The story can be in any genre, and any length, but must use the ingredients.

I obviously can’t tell you which one I wrote, but I hope you’ll stop by and check out the stories when they’re available. The site is free and you won’t need an account to read the stories. When the competition is over (Aug. 16), I’ll let you know which one was mine.

Internet friendships

Funny things, aren’t they, those “pen pal” relationships we strike up these days? Well, we have for some years, haven’t we? I have. I remember years ago using a social site called “Firefly.com” (no relation to the late, lamented television series), using ICQ to chat with people I hadn’t met.

Now it’s everywhere. Your parents are probably on Facebook, and maybe your grandparents, even if you wish they weren’t. You can leave comments everywhere, and I’m sure lots of you out there have struck up “e-pal” correspondences with a few people, at least from time to time. I certainly have. After I posted a story called Ghosts of the Forum on StoriesOnline.net, my current beta reader contacted me to say he liked the story despite the many (many, many) errors I’d made about Montreal and Canadian French. That was something like three years ago, and we’re good friends now.

Many of you know that MugsyB (aka Tamara Clarke) and I are good friends. I emailed her regarding her first hockey romance, answering her challenge to readers to identify the team and player she’d been thinking of while writing “The Ice, The Game, The Touch.” (I got it right!) We’ve been emailing for a good four years or so now.

My husband and I met because of one of those “small world” coincidences as the internet was growing in the late 1990s. I had struck up a correspondence with someone over the aforementioned Firefly site (which no longer exists, last I checked), and he had begun writing to someone after seeing a comment she’d left on a board for a SciFi channel show. It turned out that the guy I was writing to and the woman he was writing to were best friends. When they discovered that we both lived in the same state, they said, “Well, those two should be talking to each other!” So I sent him an email, and well, we’ve been married thirteen years and together for fifteen. (Whew.)

So sometimes things work out.

And sometimes not so well. This particular incident comes to mind for me every once in a while, and what can I say? It irks me a bit. When I began writing the hockey romances, I was also emailing another author, who said she wanted a hockey romance “for her,” and she’d write a story for me. We traded info on what we liked in stories, set a few soft limit so neither would feel overwhelmed. I also said at one point that I liked her stories well enough that even if some of what I liked in a story didn’t make it in, I’d probably enjoy it anyway. I ended up writing “Game Misconduct,” which she told me she really liked.

The story she wrote for me was a fantasy story, which is fine — I like my sf/f, as many of you may know — and although I can’t say I was crazy over it, and even though elements I’d hoped to see weren’t there, I enjoyed it well enough and it was fun that someone wrote it for me. She even added a character at the end with my name. However, later I saw some comments she made about the story which, what can I say, kind of hurt.

I believe it was on a forum about getting past writer’s block that she advised someone to write something, even something short or fluffy. She named the story she’d written for me, and said it had been just a quick thing she’d tossed off to get the juices flowing.

Well.

She later pulled the story down from the sites it had been posted on for some reworking, and again I saw comments about changes she’d planned, including renaming the character she’d named for me.

I haven’t named the other author and don’t plan to. It’s really not the point — she’s scored a publishing contract, which was her dream, and I’m pleased for her and that she’s having some success. I know she had a hard time and worked for ages before finding a publisher. This is not about any kind of getting even.

What has always gotten me about this situation is that I was so saddened when I had never met this woman in person. We’d never even talked on the phone. Our emails were friendly and congenial, but not quite regular. She was strictly an e-friend, and not one I’d grown close to like MugsyB or my beta reader. Still, it hurt that I’d put in some serious effort on the story I’d written — I included elements she said she liked, and also some in-jokes (which I gather no one but she and I understood, but that’s okay), and had fun writing it as a few things were a stretch for me. So when she said her story was just something she’d tossed off for no real reason, yeah, that hurt.

And that was what got me, like I said. Why was I so affected by the actions of someone I’d never met? And we run into this all the time, right? I’ve done it myself, gotten angrier or more upset than I meant to about posts on forums, comments on articles, things like that. And I occasionally make the mistake of “confronting” the commenter. Which is just useless, and doesn’t even have the small benefit of making me feel better.

I am frequently advising new writers to take any comments or votes with huge grains of salt. What do you care, I say, if a complete stranger who posts as “anonymous” doesn’t like your story? You’re anonymous, too. It’s two strangers trading insults, and what’s the point when they couldn’t pick each other out of a line up even if they were both in it? This is something I try to practice, not just preach. I have enough going on that to let the barbs of cyber-strangers upset me is just stress I don’t need. So I take a deep breath and remember Bill and Ted’s advice: “Be excellent to each other.”

Even on the internet.

Am I the only one not attracted to glass bowls?

And you know I don’t literally mean bowls made of glass, right? Just trying to keep things a little light here.

So I’m waaay late on posting this time. I keep hoping and trying, I really do. It’ s hard to find both time to write and something to write about in a blog.

I read this article yesterday, and along with a couple of e-books I’ve read recently, this line got me thinking:

Day says similarities in the stories should not surprise people already familiar with the genre because “the tortured millionaire hero” is a romance staple that has been around for decades.

And I have no doubt this is true, and I’ve read a number of such books myself. Plus, I think the nonhuman genre — your werewolves, vampires, et al — take something from that. The alpha wolves and alpha vampires (if you will) are not so different from these guys. But when does your tortured hero become an ass? And if he is such a jerk, why is that so appealing?
Okay, I know some answers — it’s not the jerkiness that’s appealing, I get it. It’s the idea of helping the tortured man, or the wounded little boy, that lies underneath the glass-bowl-ness of it all. And that’s okay, to an extent. But why do these guys get a free pass for acting in ways we’d never take from other people? And why don’t the women involved have a little backbone?
For example, I just read The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress by Lynne Graham. It’s an older Harlequin novel. In the story, your “tortured millionaire hero” decides he’s going to humiliate, in true Count of Monte Cristo fashion, a man he’s been told abandoned his mother (who has since passed away) when he was a child. Turns out he doesn’t need much help, as the guy is an idiot and has been discovered to have skimmed money from his employer. However, the Italian finds the man’s daughter — who has the Cinderella role; the idiot is her father, but she’s the product of his affair with someone else, although he takes her in after her mother’s death. His wife and her two daughters are less than impressed.
When Cinderella come to the Italian to ask for some kind of leniency for her father, he makes her one of those romance-novel offers: Be my mistress and I will take/not take action as appropriate. She does. She is intimidated by the Italian, and then later appalled by his behavior towards her and others, but — oh my, the chemistry is there and she is apparently a slave to the hormones/pheromones/whatever. I think this is what kills me.
Fine, she can be attracted physically to the guy — he’s gorgeous (a pre-req for this type of novel), etc. But knowing what he’s doing, and done, and why, I am baffled as to how she can get her physical and mental responses in line to have sex with him. Mind-blowing sex, of course (b/c there’s rarely any other kind in these novels and hey, I’m all for escapism 🙂 ). I cannot imagine myself enjoying such a thing, especially when the guy makes it all about him. Even — at first — the pleasure he wants for her is more about what he can do, satisfying his ego that yes, he can make a woman do this or that.
I know, I know, at first it is all about him being all Monte Cristo and relishing his plans for revenge, and to quote Inigo Montoya, “Humiliations galore!” on his target.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing these books, their authors, or their readers. And I know that what I want — stronger, what I think of as more rational responses from the heroines — is on me. So I should seek out those books, or write those stories (and I will). I just find it hard to relate and empathize with these characters. And I’m not even saying that these kind of arrangements don’t exist — I think it’s more that I’m just not wired that way.
I’m all for escapism and fairy tales, so I can understand in an academic way how these stories appeal. The man lets his defenses down, realizes the error of his ways and how much he loves the woman. The woman many times — not always, but many — is simply waiting. But you know what I want, don’t you? I want one of these women to say, “No. You’re a jerk, and I don’t sleep with jerks.” Then she leaves for a while. They can argue some more, because let’s be honest, few things get the blood going better than a good argument. 🙂
Is this too much of a departure from the “rules of romance”? Maybe. I can’t help it. I’m not usually one to go along with the mainstream. I don’t mind popular things, but sometimes what’s common or commonly popular just makes me scratch my head (exhibit A: the entirety of reality TV). Do I like the equality factor too much? Maybe. But aren’t there other people out there who want their romances to be just a wee bit different? Or do they want, as I saw on a forum, the stories to be “completely different yet the same”?
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